What is SGI ?

SGI is a society of people who aim for inner peace and for happiness of self and others. Soka Gakkai means Society of Value Creation, promoting Peace, Culture and Education based on Nichiren Buddhism. 

What are the aims of SGI ? 

The aim of SGI is to work for peace and happiness of all people, starting from empowering the individual to reveal own potentials and transform own life to the highest humanistic values.  SGI is acknowledged by many intellectual observers and cultural institutions as a society of ordinary people’s modern Buddhism.

The United Nations awarded SGI a Medal of Peace – in 1983.

Why do some people oppose SGI?

                                                There are certain groups which will never agree with SGI. 

1/        SGI teachings are based on “humanism” and the concept of the individual as a “world-citizen”.   “Humanism” and “world citizenship” are rejected by narrow-minded nationalists and racist forces.   A clear example of this opposition to the Soka Gakkai is what took place during the II World War, when it was banned by the military authorities in Japan, and its founder persecuted and died in prison at the age of 72.

2/       Another group, which strongly opposes SGI is the category of religious fanatics.  SGI is a form of secular practice of Buddhism, which rejects the authority of priests and their claim of possessing “superior spirituality” over ordinary people.

3/       Finally, the third group of opponents to SGI comprises misinformed individuals, whose views depend on rumor and incorrect information.

SGI follows the teaching of Nichiren, who experienced a similar pattern of strong opposition - by various authorities and ignorant people.

Why SG in Japan is involved in politics?

All citizens, Buddhist and nonBuddhists - have the right to vote in any democratic system of society.  The right of citizen to vote to any preferred political party at election - is a right protected by relevant Constitution.

Historically, most forms of traditional Buddhism were based on isolation in temple or retreats, contrary to Nichiren Buddhism, which encourages engagement of the individual in society to have a voice in improving the system of justice, and the welfare of citizens. Nichiren himself was a social and political activist all his life.                                 

To criticize SG members for voting to a party they prefer – means criticizing the Constitution and the right of citizen for peaceful engagement in social reforms.

How does Ikeda obtain recognitions from universities and cultural institutions?

Awarding honorary degrees is a tradition found in all universities around the world.  It is a tradition of acknowledgement of a given university to the achievements of distinguished individuals. 

When a university receives suggestions to award a honorary degree to P. Ikeda, the university takes the fact of his submissions of Peace Proposals to the United Nations and his dialogue with world peace activists, philosophers, scientists and cultural figures.

Opponents to SGI, motivated by jealousy and dislike to the fact of recognition of SGI on the world cultural stage, claim that the hundreds of universities and cultural institutions who honoured Ikeda – were all wrong in their decisions and morally corrupt.  In this way, opponent to SGI attack the integrity of universities, and the honesty of professors  and researchers – who support SGI (among whom some were Noble Prize laureates).